What is the cause of a ‘workout high’?

Ali Struhs

You’ve probably heard of the workout high or may have experienced it after your Curves workout. You most likely have a grin plastered on your face and feel like you could conquer the world. The workout high, also known as ‘runner’s high’, is a sensation of calmness or inner peace mixed with exhilaration and glee. So just what is the cause of a ‘workout high’? Scientists say it’s all about neurotransmitters.


Scientists first thought that the release of endorphins, a type of neurotransmitter, caused this euphoric feeling after a great workout, but after more research, including a study where endorphins were blocked, the participants still experienced a happy feeling.


Instead, other neurotransmitters may be responsible for the post-workout high. These include norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, which are all released in great concentrations while exercising, passing happy messages throughout your central nervous system, such as “You can do this! What a great feeling! Let’s go!”


While the high is short-lived, regular exercise and the subsequent release of these happy neurotransmitters can actually help reduce stress and depression in the long run. Scientists believe that exercise gives your body a chance to practice responding to stress in a positive manner. So, the more you exercise, the better equipped you’ll be to handle life’s daily stressors. Just one more reason to go visit your local Curves!



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